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The Leica X2?
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May 7, 2013, 01:55 PM
 
I can't believe its been just over six years since I picked up my D-Lux3, and it has served me very well. (How many electronics can boast a six year lifespan these days?). My only disappointment with it was taking pictures in low light conditions(obviously the sensor size).

I've been debating stepping up to a DSLR (prolly Cannon), but i find the size of cameras in that class prohibitive. I don't want to lug around a relatively big pouch with camera & lenses. Not to mention having to swap lenses.

The latest versions of the D-Lux, seem to have similar sensors on em, so I looked at the V-Lux4, which has an even smaller sensor(but lots of zoom).



The Leica X2 caught my eye (pure vanity). What I found interesting is the sensor, it is effectively a compact with the sensor of a DSLR(albeit a low-end DSLR).

But I do have a few concerns/questions about this product, which I was hoping some of you could answer/clarify:
-There is no 'zoom'.
-Given the sensor size difference(between my D-Lux3 or any of the newer ones), it seems this will be much better with low-light(high ISO) situations, am I right?
-How would this camera perform with medium-speed motion (cars moving, people walking, etc)? super blurry?

My requirements:
-relatively compact
-will mainly be used during travel and family gatherings
-good(better than any compact) low-light and night-time photography

Will the X2, fulfill those requirements? Will it surpass other compact cameras?

I know it does not record video, which is fine considering i've used the video feature on my current camera maybe 2-3 times over six years. I'd like a camera which I can use 5 or even 10 years from now (quality of pictures).

While i'm sure many of you will be eager to promote your brand of choice, which will eventually lead to a fanboyish debate, i'd like impressions on this specific camera before I hunt for other options.

Cheers
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; May 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM. )
     
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May 7, 2013, 02:03 PM
 
I won't be direct fanboy, but definitely look into the micro four-thirds format. All MFT lenses work with all MFT cameras, so there isn't the brand lock-in of a DSLR.
     
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May 7, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
Gotto agree with subego. Micro four thirds is the way to go when you're looking at this kind of camera.

If you want to go smaller, the Sony DSC-RX100 is an excellent small camera, packing a huge (for such a small body) sensor. We've got one at work and the image quality is outstanding. Not cheap though.

We use ours for aerial video.
     
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May 7, 2013, 02:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Gotto agree with subego. Micro four thirds is the way to go when you're looking at this kind of camera.

If you want to go smaller, the Sony DSC-RX100 is an excellent small camera, packing a huge (for such a small body) sensor. We've got one at work and the image quality is outstanding. Not cheap though.

We use ours for aerial video.
I'm no Pro by any stretch of the imagination, so correct me if i'm wrong...
that Sony model has a sensor which is less than half the area of the X2's sensor, AND the Sony has more MPs..... i'm pretty sure for low-light it would be a lot worse in comparison?

My D-Lux3 was a champ outdoors on bight days, but lower than average indoors at night(had to use the flash). That's what i'm trying to get away from.
     
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May 7, 2013, 09:12 PM
 
I strongly suggest you have a look at the Fuji X100s: it has a faster 23 mm f/2 prime lens, a spectacular APS-C-sized sensor and a hybrid viewfinder. It has excellent high-ISO performance and I'll get one as soon as I finish my next photo book. The image quality is on par with a dslr (same-sized sensor, top-notch optics) in a very, very small, beautiful package. There are also similar cameras from Nikon and Ricoh, but IMHO they don't come close to the X100s.

Now to your questions:
(1) No zoom: yes, this is a constraint, but it makes the camera small and the image quality is on-par with a dslr + prime combo. No zoom can be a constraint, but in my experience, it forces you to think more before you shoot, change perspective and then press the shutter release.
(2) AF speed. No non-dslr can match a dslr when it comes to moving subjects. Some (such as the Olympus OM-D E5) come close with static objects. But how often do you really need that?
(3) Low light performance. The new breed of X100s-type cameras use the same sensor size as most consumer dslrs (if you want to pay extra, you can also get the Sony RX-1 which has a full frame sensor), so the low light performance is as good as with dslrs. In fact, because of the lower weight, you'll be able to hand hold longer shutter speeds.
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May 8, 2013, 03:22 AM
 
I had the same quest recently and I bought the Canon S110 and I don't regret my decision at all! I think it's got everything you want. It's excellent in low-light situation thanks to its large sensor (1/1.7") and fast lens (F2.0). I almost never use the flash and the picture quality is excellent with great colors and no noise. It's very compact (I carry it in my pocket with lots of other things). It has a lot of manual control but the auto mode is pretty good. The screen is really good also, with good viewing angle and a good resolution. I love the touchscreen, which can be used to select where to focus when shooting and to swipe and zoom (a la iPhone) when in preview mode. Very good and fast auto-focus, which can even track moving people or pets. Very easy menus and lots of functions. Very few missed or blurry shots so far. Reasonnable price for what it has to offer. I, too, wanted to step up to a DSLR but I wanted a compact camera. I don't regret my choice!
     
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May 8, 2013, 09:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
I'm no Pro by any stretch of the imagination, so correct me if i'm wrong...
that Sony model has a sensor which is less than half the area of the X2's sensor, AND the Sony has more MPs..... i'm pretty sure for low-light it would be a lot worse in comparison?
Check out the reviews on that little camera. Like everything in life, it depends on what you need and what's important to you. The Sony is small enough to carry in your pocket, so the size of the body limits the size of the sensor. The lens is super fast, the sensor as large as can be for the size and image quality outstanding.

If camera size isn't that important, then the micro four thirds format is an excellent choice. I am sure so is the Leica, but there you pay for the brand name.
     
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May 8, 2013, 10:09 AM
 
The MFT would be if you feel like taking the next step up. What that step means for today's cameras boils down to removable lenses. Everything else is going to be more or less par.

If you're not interested in dicking around (and paying) for lenses, any big, name brand camera will be fine. I can say you'll be happy with the Leica without having laid hands on it. Same with any Nikon, Canon, or Sony.

What removable lenses give you (other than the obvious) is they force you to make decisions beforehand, which means you have to analyze more closely what kind of pictures you like, and what kinds of pictures you like to take.

Lacking a zoom, you'd be doing this with the Leica. If you know you like working with that focal length, go for it!
     
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May 8, 2013, 03:39 PM
 
After reading a bit more (info seems a bit scarce). It appears this camera does not have IS (Could it be a problem with street photography(especially at night)?). (Note* it does have some pseudo form of IS where it combines two images or something, which seems more like a hack than anything).

My thoughts on the X2 so far:
-The "tech"(specs) are not cutting edge. ('slower' AF, no EVF/OVF(out of the box), low density LCD, far fewer options). Having said that it is a bit strange that the 'lens speed'(is that what its called?) (f2.8) and the LCD resolution is pretty must the same as my 6 year old D-Lux3.
-Some reviewers/bloggers/photographers have essentially labeled this camera the 'mini-M' due to the image quality, a few have even gone so far as to say the lens itself is worth the asking price!
-Simple(limited manual), straightforward(only for images), great image quality.
-Vanity: Beautiful industrial design(obviously), Made in Germany. red dot

My thought process is to get great images (don't care about video, or other bells and whistles) in the following situations: travel, street, family gatherings, city(day/night/fireworks). The tech/specs are essentially secondary to me(I am prioritizing image quality(any lighting) over tech). The "over-tweakibility"/customizability of some of the competitors is not up my alley. My D-Lux3 has a lot of manual controls and settings, which I didn't use (with the exception of shutter speed, aperture ,ISO). This feature/ability is at the low end of my priorities.

My goal is to essentially get DSLR-like image quality from a compact in any lighting conditions (in the above scenarios). Size matters, smaller the better (which is why i'm not going the DSLR route). My preferred use case would be: set my preferences/options depending on anticipated lighting and scenario before hand, and then just .point-and-shoot. I'm not a fan of tweaking on-the-go or swapping lenses or any other fidgeting, which distracts from the experience(walking down a street, enjoying a party/fireworks) (while I know I can if i absolutely have to). That's something I want to minimize. (it probably sounds like I want a automatic point-n-shoot ).

So is this a camera built for a very specific scenario, given that it has no zoom or IS, etc? Or can it serve me with great images in the situations i've mentioned with relative ease?

I wonder if I should just wait for the X3......

Cheers
     
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May 8, 2013, 04:03 PM
 
They've dropped their standards a bit since the Amazon purchase, but DPReview does actually have good reviews.

Basically, the bigger the sensor, the better low-light performance. There is a good choice of software to correct some of the high-ISO noise though. TBH, if you're doing night-time street stuff, you're going to have noise. Leica has the lens for this though. Don't bother asking the price.
     
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May 8, 2013, 04:39 PM
 
If you're into street photography, then the new Ricoh GR is a camera I'd look at very seriously: Ricoh GR Hands-on Preview: Digital Photography Review

I still own my old Ricoh GR Digital II from seven years ago and use it exclusively for street photography. I love that little old camera, despite dog slow RAW processing and an outdated sensor. Nothing comes close to the speed of snap focus. Additional niceties include a screen that can be switched off for total stealth photography, really beautiful b/w in camera processing, a digital level for architecture shots and square as a selectable format.



     
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May 8, 2013, 04:44 PM
 
     
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May 8, 2013, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
After reading a bit more (info seems a bit scarce). It appears this camera does not have IS (Could it be a problem with street photography(especially at night)?).
You don't need IS, because of the focal length (a moderate wide-angle lens) and the low weight.
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
My thoughts on the X2 so far:
Sounds like you're a good match for the X2. However, I really encourage you to have a look at the alternatives which are all interpretations of the same kind of idea (APS-C-sized sensor, small, fixed focal length, high quality optics, rugged built quality):
- Fuji X100s: optical/electronic hybrid viewfinder, 23 mm/35 mm equivalent f/2 lens, excellent image quality, robust built quality, excellent haptics, named favorite camera ever in many reviews because of its personality. One very nice non-pixel-peeping review is written by Mr. Strobist himself, David Hobby.
- Nikon Coolpix A: no electronic viewfinder (it's a pricy accessory), 28 mm equivalent f/2.8 lens.
- Sigma's 3 DPx Merrill cameras: they cover 28 mm equivalent, 50 mm equivalent and 75 mm equivalent focal lengths. Even though the smaller two feel lighter than the X100s, they are also bulkier. Especially the optics of the 75 mm equivalent protrudes quite a bit. I have a distant relative as my mountain bike camera which I'll retire once I get the X100s, and its slowness really taught me how to deliberately take a photo. Its sensor (which is years old) is quite noisy, but at base ISO, it's sharp as a tack, these 5 MP are definitely competitive with 8 MP from other camera manufacturers.
- Ricoh GR: 28 mm f/2.8 lens. Haven't tried it yet.
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
My goal is to essentially get DSLR-like image quality from a compact in any lighting conditions (in the above scenarios). Size matters, smaller the better (which is why i'm not going the DSLR route).
Sounds like any of the above cameras (including the Leica) can do the job. My personal preference is clear, I want an optical viewfinder, so there is only one game in town.
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May 9, 2013, 06:30 AM
 
Great pics Oreo, much post work?
     
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May 9, 2013, 06:45 AM
 
With the DP1, you mean? No, other than that you have to deal with Sigma Photo Pro, a software that was created by people who don't know a first thing about designing a UI. It's part of what makes working with the DP1 so slow and the reason I only put small SD cards in it (which limit me to 60 pictures). For instance, this was shot with the DP1:


For the record, I do have a fabulous dslr, a camera I couldn't be happier with. But I travel a lot and I'm getting more and more tired of having to schlepp around 2+ kg of equipment (camera + 2 lenses + flash). Plus, Nikon is missing a fast, affordable 35 mm equivalent prime lens.

Plus, I noticed that I'm much more inconspicuous with a smaller camera, and the X100s is a cheap way to get into rangefinder-style shooting. They got me sold on the hybrid viewfinder, and after the update, the camera is also reasonably fast. And if that wasn't enough, the stars aligned and Apple now supports Fuji's new X-trans sensor in Aperture (my software of choice). If one of the other cameras had a hybrid viewfinder, I'd seriously consider them, but right now it's a no-brainer. I've only held the X100s in a shop a few times, but it's a joy to hold: everything feels well-made and if you like the way classic cameras operate, you'll feel right at home. There is no mystery how to use the camera.
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May 9, 2013, 08:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
With the DP1, you mean?
Whatever took the b&w photos - I haven't looked at the EXIF.
     
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May 9, 2013, 09:34 AM
 
Phileas posted those nice b&w photos, not me.
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May 9, 2013, 09:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Phileas posted those nice b&w photos, not me.
My god, I am getting old. Sorry.
     
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May 9, 2013, 10:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Great pics Oreo, much post work?
Those were shot with an, in digital terms, ancient Ricoh GR Digital II. No post processing, straight out of the camera.

When that camera first came out it caused quite the splash. It shoots RAW, albeit very slowly by today's standards, it has a fast prime lens and it introduced snap focus - a preset focus that makes this camera ideal for street photography. Hit the shutter and it takes an image with zero lag. It's tiny and cost close to a thousand dollars when it launched.

The sensor is quite noisy, but instead of smearing the noise they managed to create a film-grain look.

Today's GR is much, much improved but I absolutely love the look of the images the old model takes, so I am hanging on to it.
     
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May 9, 2013, 11:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Those were shot with an, in digital terms, ancient Ricoh GR Digital II. No post processing, straight out of the camera.

When that camera first came out it caused quite the splash. It shoots RAW, albeit very slowly by today's standards, it has a fast prime lens and it introduced snap focus - a preset focus that makes this camera ideal for street photography. Hit the shutter and it takes an image with zero lag. It's tiny and cost close to a thousand dollars when it launched.

The sensor is quite noisy, but instead of smearing the noise they managed to create a film-grain look.

Today's GR is much, much improved but I absolutely love the look of the images the old model takes, so I am hanging on to it.
Just looked up the "GR Digital II", it looks like a close contender of the D-Lux3(released in late 2006, a year before the Ricoh). I'd put it in a similar class ("prosumer"). The technical dimensions are near identical. (The D-Lux3 at that time won my vote due to the 16:9 aspect ratio). The D-Lux3 was pretty bad in low-light (even RAW...anthing over 400 was just too noisy), the newer versions are a lot better from what i've seen (even though they have similar sensors).

Regarding the X2...check out Steve Huff's Review.

The image I am constantly drawn to is this one shot at ISO2000.....


Cheers
     
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May 9, 2013, 11:19 AM
 
I'm not trying to troll, I promise.

If what you're looking for is a decent compact digital camera that can take good photos - and multiple people have pointed out that Nikon and Canon both make very good compact cameras - why in the world are you considering a $2,000 camera with almost no capabilities?

I used to be way more into digital photography than I am now, so I'm a little behind the curve with some of the current technologies. That being said, Leica's cameras seem to be little more than a luxury status symbol. Other cameras for a tenth of the price take equally good photos, but with a Leica, people will *know* you can afford to drop two grand on a damn point-and-shoot.
     
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May 9, 2013, 11:32 AM
 
That ISO2000 photo is on a tripod over a few seconds - to create the light trails of fireworks the shutter needs to be open a while. You wouldn't be able to do that hand held.

EDIT : just seen the EXIF, 1/30. I find that hard to believe. I've done fireworks stuff and its taken seconds to get light trails. I'm looking for the photos that I took now.
     
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May 9, 2013, 11:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
That ISO2000 photo is on a tripod over a few seconds - to create the light trails of fireworks the shutter needs to be open a while. You wouldn't be able to do that hand held.
The image info says shutter speed was 1/30 of a second. (Am i misunderstanding something here?)

Looking at the fireworks.... it would be some neat trick if he could get them to linger in their positions for a few secs while taking the pic .

I'm really not upto date with any optical illusion tricks, so i'm just assuming that was just a picture, without any post-effects.

EDIT>>
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
I find that hard to believe. I've done fireworks stuff and its taken seconds to get light trails.
I remember trying to take pictures of fireworks using my D-Lux3, with high ISO, 1s shutter speed, and a whole slew of other settings, and the results were abysmal. (that and indoor low-light were my only complaints about the D-Lux). And i have to say I find it hard to believe as well. At first I thought it might have been a composite of several images. It's not just the low-light aspect that amazes me, its the fact that the fireworks are a fair distance away as well.
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; May 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM. )
     
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May 9, 2013, 11:50 AM
 
Take a look at some of my crap efforts at shooting fireworks :

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-BTLZ...-BTLZPDP-S.jpg
Thats 11 seconds

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-XNZH...-XNZH3nP-S.jpg
15 seconds

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-4tXP...-4tXPvFs-S.jpg
16 seconds

I shall dig further regarding the 1/30 photo that your X2 took. If it can do that at 1/30 then I'm buying one !!!
     
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May 9, 2013, 12:05 PM
 
Well there seem to be several 1/30 photos at the Steve Huff site. I'm wrong again!

There's a b&w that is just excellent, puts you into 50's Chicago. I doubt that I could get this sort of stuff from my D90, even with a f/1.8 or even the 85mm f/1.4 at ISO 400. Still surprised about getting a light trail in only 1/30th of a second.
     
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May 9, 2013, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Take a look at some of my crap efforts at shooting fireworks :

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-BTLZ...-BTLZPDP-S.jpg
Thats 11 seconds

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-XNZH...-XNZH3nP-S.jpg
15 seconds

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-4tXP...-4tXPvFs-S.jpg
16 seconds

I shall dig further regarding the 1/30 photo that your X2 took. If it can do that at 1/30 then I'm buying one !!!
Hah.. i don't have one.

With your results at least you can *SEE* something. For me all I got was noise (to be fair, the D-Lux is a compact with a tiny sensor).

Comparing your pictures with the X2...i see the light trails in your pictures, obviously given the shutter speed. But with the X2, I don't see light trails, just the 'smoke trail' (which is fairly detailed(as opposed to blurry if it was a slow shutter)).

EDIT>>
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
.... D90...
The D90 and the X2 have the same size sensor, shouldn't you 'technically' be able to take a picture like that by using the same aperture, shutter, f, ISO, etc ?
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; May 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM. )
     
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May 9, 2013, 01:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Just looked up the "GR Digital II", it looks like a close contender of the D-Lux3(released in late 2006, a year before the Ricoh). I'd put it in a similar class ("prosumer"). The technical dimensions are near identical. (The D-Lux3 at that time won my vote due to the 16:9 aspect ratio). The D-Lux3 was pretty bad in low-light (even RAW...anthing over 400 was just too noisy), the newer versions are a lot better from what i've seen (even though they have similar sensors).

Regarding the X2...check out Steve Huff's Review.

The image I am constantly drawn to is this one shot at ISO2000.....


Cheers
I'm really impressed with the high ISO blacks. I personally think grainy is okay as long as your blacks don't turn to mud.
     
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May 9, 2013, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm really impressed with the high ISO blacks. I personally think grainy is okay as long as your blacks don't turn to mud.
True. Post-effects or cleanup? I find it hard to believe that image was right out of the camera(apart from scaling it down).
     
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May 9, 2013, 01:11 PM
 
Exactly what I thought. So I looked to see if he mentioned something. He didn't, but farther in he posts this, which is a simple RAW to JPEG, and is pretty good IME.



I am on a phone though, so I may be missing some detail. Even if I am, that's still good relative to the lit area.
     
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May 9, 2013, 03:07 PM
 
I've been looking at the pics on his review for a while now. Most impressive. I'd only ever goto IS0 1600 on my D90 if it was a school play that my kids were in or something - then spend some time with Noise Ninja.

Bet that I'd be blown away by the latest DSLRs on the market.
     
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May 9, 2013, 09:09 PM
 
Some more pictures.... Red dot Leica X2 Review


1/80th @ f/3.2, ISO 3200

F me. At ISO3200 and 1/80th... you can actually make out the detail in the grill at the front of the stairs.

DSLR quality?
     
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May 9, 2013, 09:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
If what you're looking for is a decent compact digital camera that can take good photos - and multiple people have pointed out that Nikon and Canon both make very good compact cameras - why in the world are you considering a $2,000 camera with almost no capabilities?
That's because you don't see the features this camera has and that are important to the OP and others. For instance, the large sensor allows for shallower depth of field and much better low light performance. Since these two things are a matter of physics and coupled to sensor size, smaller compacts simply won't stand a chance. Ditto for optics, a good prime lens will blow a zoom out of the water.

However, to most, small point & shoots are good enough. But not to everyone.
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I used to be way more into digital photography than I am now, so I'm a little behind the curve with some of the current technologies. That being said, Leica's cameras seem to be little more than a luxury status symbol.
Leica is famous for its optics and its bare-bones camera design. Honestly, the X2 isn't a camera I'd personally covet for, but in the right hands, the combination of large sensor and top-notch optics allows for great shots.
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May 10, 2013, 10:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Some more pictures.... Red dot Leica X2 Review


1/80th @ f/3.2, ISO 3200

F me. At ISO3200 and 1/80th... you can actually make out the detail in the grill at the front of the stairs.

DSLR quality?
Yes and no.

DSLRs are all about the lenses. You could conceivably take that shot at 1200 and 1/60th... at 200mm and f/2 with an image stabilizer covering your shakes.

The biggest deal though is you can get lenses with big apertures, so you don't need to push the high ISO in the first place. I haven't needed to push my mkIII past 1200, and 90% of what I do is under pretty dark conditions (concerts and the like).
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:10 AM
 
Big apertures are making an appearance in the smaller cameras though. The little Sony DSC-RX100 I've mentioned above comes with a f/1.8 lens.
My micro 4/3 Lumix packs a f/1.7 pancake that's a real beauty.

But 100% agreed, fast lenses make a huge difference.
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:21 AM
 
Very true.

I was thinking about the Leica specifically. 2.8 on a 24mm prime isn't so great.

OTOH, ridiculous wide apertures are Canon's specialty, and I personally like shooting wide-open. The net result is I (thankfully) can work with lower ISO settings off the bat.
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Yes and no.

DSLRs are all about the lenses. You could conceivably take that shot at 1200 and 1/60th... at 200mm and f/2 with an image stabilizer covering your shakes.

The biggest deal though is you can get lenses with big apertures, so you don't need to push the high ISO in the first place. I haven't needed to push my mkIII past 1200, and 90% of what I do is under pretty dark conditions (concerts and the like).
I guess what i'm comparing is the relationship with high ISO, sensor size and noise. (Taken in context with my current kit: D-Lux3). Correct me if i'm wrong, but the benefit of bigger sensors is in low-light stuff (compared to most compacts), right? (ie it is easier to take a low-light picture with low ISO(less noise) and a fast shutter speed(less blur)).

Regarding the lens, my D-Lux3 and the X2 both have a limit of f2.8.

@Phileas
From what i've read thus far, the Sony DSC-RX100(incorrect) and the Fuji X100s are the closest competitors (specs wise at least). Then there's the Sony RX1, which is essentially a compact-ish with a DSLR sensor and a price to match (~$2800).
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; May 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM. )
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:29 AM
 
Directly on topic though, what Phileas said is why I suggest looking into MFT.

I've heard nothing but raves about the Panny pancake. Is it a better lens than the Leica? You may lose a percentage point or two of sharpness (I don't know, I'm making that up), but it's faster, and fits on any MFT body from any manufacturer.

Then, take it off and slap on a zoom for the kid's play.
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
I guess what i'm comparing is the relationship with high ISO, sensor size and noise. (Taken in context with my current kit: D-Lux3). Correct me if i'm wrong, but the benefit of bigger sensors is in low-light stuff (compared to most compacts), right? (ie it is easier to take a low-light picture with low ISO(less noise) and a fast shutter speed(less blur)).
The only change I'd make to the second part is to differentiate between subject motion blur and camera motion blur.

Motion blur can be pretty cool. I'll often shoot active musicians at 1/30. Drumsticks and violin bows are pretty blurry at that speed, but everything else is usually pretty sharp. IOW, it's an artistic choice.

Camera motion blur is just bad, period. It's going to depend on how steady you are (obviously) and focal length/shutter speed. The rule of thumb (for handheld) is your shutter speed should be twice your focal length. If you're good, they can be closer to equal.

For the Leica, this means about 1/60-1/30 shutter speed. That's close to the slowest you'd want to go anyway, so it's definitely not going to hurt. If you had a 200mm lens, you're almost required to shoot that at 1/400. That's when being able to increase your ISO is helpful. Did that make sense?

For your first part, I throw all theory out the window and trust test images from reviewers.
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:58 AM
 
Could someone explain what a "fast"/"slow" lens is? I know what shutter speed is(blink speed), and i know what an aperture is(size of the 'eye'). And i know that the larger the aperture, the more light gets in, so a faster shutter speed can be used. Sorry for the noob question, but the jargon takes some getting used to.

I'm not too keen on swapping lenses and such. If i was I would have stepped up to a full DSLR. Small size, less fidgeting, simple, and image quality(day and night). I am not only willing, but keen to give up 'flexibility' of lens swapping and features(video, etc), for a smaller camera if it can deliver DSLR comparable image quality in the scenarios i mentioned.
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Regarding the lens, my D-Lux3 and the X2 both have a limit of f2.8.
Usually, a non-zoom lens opens wider than that for the same focal length. The pancake is f/1.7. My 35 is f/1.4.

So, that's the difference between using ISO3200 and ISO1600, or ISO800.
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Could someone explain what a "fast"/"slow" lens is? I know what shutter speed is(blink speed), and i know what an aperture is(size of the 'eye'). And i know that the larger the aperture, the more light gets in, so a faster shutter speed can be used. Sorry for the noob question, but the jargon takes some getting used to.
You already know it.

It's the size of the eye. Big eyes are "fast", small eyes are "slow".

An f/1.7 is fast, an f/3.2 is slow. I'm not sure where the official break-point between them is. There may not be one.
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
I'm not too keen on swapping lenses and such. If i was I would have stepped up to a full DSLR. Small size, less fidgeting, simple, and image quality(day and night). I am not only willing, but keen to give up 'flexibility' of lens swapping and features(video, etc), for a smaller camera if it can deliver DSLR comparable image quality in the scenarios i mentioned.
It's just as much swapping bodies. You're separating your investment in glass (which stays the basically the same) from the mechanical/solid state (which keeps improving).

You also don't have to swap lenses. I have my favorites (f/2.8 70-200IS and f/2 135). I only use other lenses if I'm ordered to by a client, or I'm worried about tiring out my arms with the 70-200 (it's a beast).
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:16 AM
 
All that said, the photography school rule is shoot 10,000 pictures on a 50mm before you even think about changing lenses. For the sensor size on the Leica, that lens is about equivalent to a 50mm. You wouldn't be doing yourself a disservice by making that your lock-in for a couple years.
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Yes and no.

DSLRs are all about the lenses. You could conceivably take that shot at 1200 and 1/60th... at 200mm and f/2 with an image stabilizer covering your shakes.

The biggest deal though is you can get lenses with big apertures, so you don't need to push the high ISO in the first place. I haven't needed to push my mkIII past 1200, and 90% of what I do is under pretty dark conditions (concerts and the like).
So, from what I understand, with the same/similar lens and setting on a DSLR, you would get similar results, but with a DSLR you have the advantage of being able to swap the lens to suit the occasion and get better results?

Originally Posted by subego View Post
Usually, a non-zoom lens opens wider than that for the same focal length. The pancake is f/1.7. My 35 is f/1.4.

So, that's the difference between using ISO3200 and ISO1600, or ISO800.
I don't get the first part (non-zoom opens wider. is that a rule?)
But i assume the gist is: f/1.7 = 'larger' aperture(more light) enables fast shutter(less camera motion blue) and lower ISO (less noise) = better image?

EDIT>>

Leica X2, 1/60th @ f/4, ISO 6400

Curious: so, if the aperture was set to f/2.8, shutter 1/60.... you would get similar results with lower ISO? so a sharper image with less noise/grain?
     
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May 10, 2013, 12:58 PM
 
That shot of the woman coming up the stairs is excellent. And the restaurant above, very good. Lower ISO for the shot above would mean a slower shutter speed, which in my old hands would mean blur. Or you open up the f-stop but then you change depth of field. Arty arguments about bokeh then start. I'm not one of those that analyses bokeh too much, I know good bokeh when I see it but I don't stop using certain lenses at certain f-stops due to it.

I'm no expert, but AFAIK, a f/1.8 on a full sized sensor does not equal a f/1.8 on a APS-C or m4/3. I don't know the mathematical stuff or even how this is worked out.

I always try and stay at IS0200 on the D90, shutter speeds are usually 1/100 or faster since my kids are the targets. Yes as in the fireworks there are exceptions. While the sensor is the same size as the Leica X2, the age and the processing power is not. They've probably got some serious CPU in that little box. The D90 has never had a firmware update.

Also, subego, isn't the 35mm on an APS-C sensor like using a 50mm on a full-frame? The 50mm would be a 75mm equivalent. The best lens that I ever bought is my 35mm f/1.8, for about $200. Bargain.
     
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May 10, 2013, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
So, from what I understand, with the same/similar lens and setting on a DSLR, you would get similar results, but with a DSLR you have the advantage of being able to swap the lens to suit the occasion and get better results?
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
I don't get the first part (non-zoom opens wider. is that a rule?)
But i assume the gist is: f/1.7 = 'larger' aperture(more light) enables fast shutter(less camera motion blue) and lower ISO (less noise) = better image?
Exactly. Assuming you don't mind the depth-of-field reduction (which I touch on a bit below), if you have a 1.7 lens, and shoot at that wide-open aperture, it gives you a whole stop and a third which you can use to make your shutter faster, or your ISO lower. In fact, you have to do at least one, otherwise your shot will be overexposed.

Non-zoom (prime) lenses tend to open wider than zooms. A zoom which can do 2.8 fully zoomed-out is a good lens. On a prime, it's not that great. The 1.7 pancake lens we're talking about and an MFT body is definitely in the same cost range as the Leica.

But in simplest terms. For every extra stop your lens gives you, that's a stop you can use for better ISO or faster shutter speed. I did a quick Google, and there are MFT lenses which go lower than f/1. I'm sure that's ridiculously expensive, but you get the idea of what's possible in terms of low-light performance strictly from a lens perspective.

That's the other aspect of changing lenses. You don't have to (or want to, really) think of it in terms of having all your lenses on you at all times. Let's say you drop the coin on a f/1.4 lens for its low-light capabilities. There's no reason to carry that around in the daytime. You're never going to put it on when the sun is up. When it's night photography time, you put that on the body and don't carry anything else.

Don't get all that as me steering you away from the Leica though. I'm only saying the MFT is cool enough it deserves consideration if you want to be fully informed.


Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
EDIT>>

Leica X2, 1/60th @ f/4, ISO 6400

Curious: so, if the aperture was set to f/2.8, shutter 1/60.... you would get similar results with lower ISO? so a sharper image with less noise/grain?
100% correct.

The sole difference would be the shot at f/2.8 would have less depth-of-field than the one taken at f/4. My probably incorrect math, assuming it's focused at 10', the f/2.8 has about 2' in absolute, perfect focus, while the f/4 has about 3' in perfect focus.

The f/1.7 at 10' would have a touch more than a foot in perfect focus.
     
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May 10, 2013, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Also, subego, isn't the 35mm on an APS-C sensor like using a 50mm on a full-frame? The 50mm would be a 75mm equivalent. The best lens that I ever bought is my 35mm f/1.8, for about $200. Bargain.
Exactly. Which is why I think it's the perfect choice for the "50mm rule", even though it's 35mm.

I heart photography.
     
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May 10, 2013, 01:18 PM
 
Some really quite fantastic, but also heavy worked on ISO 10,000 images :

Night Rodeo, D700, ISO 10000

Actually its 'only' ISO 8000 :

I think I tried to clarify how Nikon represents stooting at ISO 8000 in camera earlier in this thread but I keep hearing from people than don't seem to grasp the concept so I will explain it here. Nikon represents the ISO 8000 in camera setting by showing it as 0.3 EV over ISO 6400. This is not me setting the EV in camera to + 0.3 EV and shooting at 6400. If you look at my screen capture (on the left side) you will see that I had my exposure compensation set to 0 when shooting the rodeo. The additional 0.3 of EV was exposure compensation pushing the photo in capture NX to 0.3 EV over the ISO 8000 that the image was shot at. Thus bringing the ISO to 10000 equivalent. I hope this clears it up that the images were indeed shot at ISO 8000 in camera (not ISO 6400 with me adding 0.3 EV on my end in the camera) and "pushed" to ISO 10000 in post.
     
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May 10, 2013, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I heart photography.
I did as well, but my principal client (my mum) passed away recently. I need to get back into it with the good weather coming.
     
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May 10, 2013, 03:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
A zoom which can do 2.8 fully zoomed-out is a good lens. On a prime, it's not that great.
So the lens f/2.8 on the D-Lux3 which has zoom is good.

But the lens f/2.8 of the X2 which has no zoom, not so much?

So overall, is the X2 a justifiable step up from the D-Lux3? or is it just a little bit better? (optics, sensor, low-light, etc)

@mattyb, those D700 images are outstanding. The heat shimmer off the ring of fire looks awesome, and amazing for that level of ISO. However, the price, size and simplicity are way out of range for me. It would be nice to see a 100% crop of them.
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; May 10, 2013 at 03:36 PM. )
     
 
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